quick workouts at home

7 Quick But Tough Maintenance Workouts

October 27, 2020

Skip day or quick workout? Easy answer...Jan Libourel presents 7 quick (but tough) maintenance workouts for days when you are pushed for time. 

All of us, I'm sure, have those days when we may not have the time or inclination for a full hour-plus workout, but we don't want to skip training altogether. It may be very hot, you may be feeling a little lethargic, you may be pressed for time because of social or work commitments, but you would still feel guilty if you did absolutely nothing.


Here are 7 "quickie" maintenance workouts that have worked for me that should give you a pretty good approximation of a total body workout.

1. Kettlebell Swings & Tire Slams

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Equipment Needed: One kettlebell that is light enough to perform high repetition swings and squats (I use a 53-pounder), a slamming tire, a macebell or sledgehammer.

Workout: Perform as many high-repetition Russian swings and goblet squats as possible (ideally, 20 to 30 reps of each exercise) followed by 100 tire slams. Perform three cycles. This takes me about 24 minutes. Add another cycle if you have the time and feel more ambitious.

Related: Benefits of Kettlebell Training

2. Kettlebell & Resistance Band Workout

quick workout with resistance bands

At the moment, my regular kettlebell workout consists of cleans and presses, Russian swings, goblet squats, sumo squats and Romanian deadlifts, the latter two exercises with double kettlebells. I typically aim for 10-20 reps of each. Following this, I use a SET FOR SET black resistance band for curls, upright rows and reverse curls, each for 10-20 reps as well. I normally perform three cycles of these exercises. It takes about 35-40 minutes. The thought occurs to me that, if pressed for time, I could complete two cycles in less than a half hour and not lose much in the way of conditioning.

Related: 24 Resistance Band Exercises

3. Farmer's Walk Workout

maintenance workout

The farmer's walk is another unconventional fitness standby. You can use a matched pair of kettlebells or an unmatched pair for an even more challenging asymmetrical workout. If you have a pair of adjustable dumbbells, they will serve just as well if you have sufficient weight. Select enough weight (this may take some trial and error) that you can just barely take the weights about 100 yards out and then back. Do this for 10-20 minutes and your body probably won't be craving too much more exercise than that for the rest of the day!

4. Macebell Swings and Tire Slams

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This is a condensed version of my customary macebell workout that I have sometimes utilized:

Equipment Needed: Two macebells of different weights (for most trainees, either 10lb/15lb or 15lb/20lb) and a slamming tire.


Cycle 1: Macebell 360s with the lighter macebell, barbarian squats with the heavier macebell (AMRAP--As Many Reps as Possible), 100 tire slams with the lighter mace.

Cycle 2: Macebell 10-2s with the lighter macebell, otherwise the same as Cycle #1

Cycles 3 and 4: The same as #1 and #2 except the heavier macebell is used for the swings.

Related: 360 and 10-to-2 practice moves

Related: What muscles do mace 360s and 10-2s work?

5. Tire Slams (Alone)

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Simply slamming a tire alone can be a good workout utilizing a macebell or sledgehammer that will work much of your body. Try it in cycles of 100 slams (25 over the left shoulder, 25 over the right, 25 overhead with the left hand active, 25 with the right active). Six cycles of 100 reps should take about a half-hour and take care of a day's need for exercise.

Related: Benefits of Tire Slams

Related: Steel Mace vs Sledgehammer

6. Power Cleans

quick barbell workout

If there's a better exercise for building total, explosive body power than the power clean, I don't know it. You may wish to combine it with an overhead pressing motion, but you may have to use a reduced weight and perform fewer reps. Your call.

Equipment Needed - a lot to choose from here: A barbell, a pair of dumbbells or matching kettlebells are probably the simplest and best choices. However, you can also use, among other things, a single heavy kettlebell, a slamball, a sandbag, a lightweight Atlas stone (or a not-so-light Atlas stone if you're really, really strong); even a plain, suitably heavy stone can be pressed into service. (There are a couple of smooth well-balanced stones that recently appeared in a nearby park. I'm sure somebody has moved them there for exercising purposes. I stop and use them for a few cleans and presses when I'm out with one of my dogs.) And, yes, you certainly can use your heavy SET FOR SET macebell. I suggest performing a ballistic curl after each rep with it to keep the work done by each side of your body in balance. Finish each rep with an overhead press if desired.

Workout: Five sets of about 10 reps with a reasonably challenging amount of weight should keep you toned for the day.

7. Slamball

quick maintenance workout

The slamball is one piece of exercise equipment I respect more than like. I really enjoy macebells, Indian clubs and kettlebells. Free weights are okay, but sort of stale for me after having used them for a half-century. The slamball is not aesthetically appealing (to me, at least). I don't enjoy working out with it as much as other gear, but if you want a simple piece of equipment that will give you a tough, brutal, downright punishing workout, consider the slamball. I don't know if this should be considered a "quickie" workout because I have absolutely never wanted to train longer than a half hour with my slamball (a 40-pounder).

Equipment Needed: A slamball (obviously)...and a suitable place to slam it

Exercises: There are a lot of things you can do with a slamball besides slamming--squats, carries, torso twists, Burpees, asymmetrical pushups and more--but the slamball is made for slams. Clean and press it and slam it down directly in front of you or slam it forward as far as you can; raise it overhead and slam it behind you; slam it over your left and right shoulders; slam it to the right; slam it to the left. As noted above, a half-hour of non-stop slamming mixed with other slamball exercises should leave you good and tired.

Workout #1 AMRAP (20 minutes). As many reps as possible of Slamball Overhead Slams. Only rest when needed. 

Workout #2 AMRAP (20-30 minutes). Choose 3-4 Slamball exercises and do them in a circuit of 10 reps for 20-30 minutes, only resting when necessary.

Related: Top 7 Unconventional Fitness Equipment

Final Note

These are just a few suggestions. Use your imagination and you may very well come up with other, even better "condensed" workouts. I am not a professional trainer or coach--just an old guy who has been working out for the better part of six decades--and I certainly don't claim to be the last word on these matters.

Author: Jan Libourel

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